Recently I was contacted by the NAACP president of Wilmington, Delaware regarding its Annual Freedom Fund and Awards Dinner scheduled for November 20, 2011. I was pleasantly surprised to be told that I have been selected to receive an award for my professional and volunteer work in affirmative action and diversity in the workplace. Since the notification, I have looked back over my life reflecting upon where I came from and how rewarding my public service life has been.
I grew up in a public housing project raised with my 7 siblings by our mother who had a 10th grade education. My mother, now 83 years of age is proud that 4 of her 8 children have college degrees. All 4 attended college part time as adults with full time jobs.
As I have been reflecting on my life, I looked around my home and work office to view newspaper articles, awards and recognitions from organizations such as the Delaware King Memorial Foundation, United Way of Delaware, Latin American Community Center, National Association of University Women, National Conference of Christians and Jews, Governor of the State of Delaware, Delaware State House of Representatives, New Castle County Council, City of Wilmington Mayor’s Office, Delaware Republican Committee and the list goes on.
In retrospect, my whole life has been about connecting with people from diverse stations in life regardless of social, economic or political affiliation. What has made things possible for this kid from the inner city streets, is a desire to be open about my motives, be respective and understanding of other people and their perspectives, non egotistical and not banking my success on impeding progress of others.
Now for those of you reading this writing, you are probably wondering why I am sharing this personal story. Well, that’s a good question. The answer is, just think how much further along the American society would be if we spent more time genuinely getting to know, understand and appreciating other people, their concerns and challenges, as well as the talents they bring to a given situation to make a positive difference. Wow!
Had the UC Berkeley College Republicans been raised, taught and mentored to understand that America’s national economy and global political leadership is the direct result of the hard work and labor of enslaved people? Perhaps they would accept and appreciate the need for continued equal opportunity programs stemming from the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Instead, they orchestrated a recent bake sale pricing goods based on the buyer's race, gender and ethnicity, ranging from $2 for white people to 25 cents for Native Americans. Women were offered a 25-cent discount. This was their way of opposing California State Bill 185 allowing UC “to consider race, gender, ethnicity and national origin, along with other relevant factors, in undergraduate and graduate admissions.”
Making a mockery of equal opportunity tools such as affirmative action on the part of some of our Country’s best and brightest is not only disheartening in this day and time, it perpetuates discrimination and reinforces the need for affirmative action programs and diversity initiatives.
Gregory T. Chambers